Cricket, A Game Of Jargons


by : D. Chandramouli

You may have heard the cricket commentary on the radio or TV.  At times, the jargon used in the commentary can be quite incomprehensible.  I’d like to share some of these peculiar terms with the cricket enthusiasts for better appreciation and “understanding”.

Do you know that cricket is a game that can be played by men with “short square legs” and “deep fine legs”? Every bowler on the field wishes to “bowl a maiden over”. Isn’t an unchivalrous desire on the part of these otherwise decent men? Batsmen can get out “leg before” or “caught behind”.  Why on earth should they put their legs before and what are they doing behind?

A player can be “run out” while he’s actually running in. To say that a batsman has been stumped means exactly the same thing. There can be one, two or three slips on the field – is the game played on ice?

The commentators never sit in a room; they always sit in a box which draws up a peculiar mental picture. A bowler may get a hat-trick. However, we can only see plenty of caps on the field.

All the time, the players rub the ball vigorously on their pants. This makes spectators wonder if the players are trying to clean the ball or to make their trousers dirty.

There are spin bowlers, seam bowlers, medium-paced bowlers, slow bowlers and pace bowlers.  But one can’t understand what exactly a “seam bowler” means.

Cricket is a game which can delight you with a “sharp” single. And the team also occasionally wins by the “skin of the teeth”. Diving is not unique to swimming – we can find fielders in cricket diving to the left or right to hold on to a catch.

Have you heard of the “invisible” umpire? Well, cricket players must reckon with this “third” umpire viz. TV replays that help in making decisions that are as close to perfection as possible.

Do you know that “Run” is a noun in cricket – an original and unadulterated English game.  Americans are way behind at least in this game, which in any case is meant for gentlemen only!

Talking of the spirit of Cricket, an “ONIDA” TV ad says it all: “You were desperate for a big score first to stay in the team.  Your senior partner makes a faulty call and is stranded in the middle. Again you think of the team.  You run yourself OUT.  That’s Cricket!”

“You never conquer the mountain.  You only conquer yourself”. This may well describe Sachin Tendulkar, the great Indian cricketer.  He commented once:  “We need to study in order to learn and improve. Perhaps the mountain will always be higher than the climber.  Perhaps perfection lies millimeters beyond the human limits.  But, human drive towards excellence continues”.